This was posted by my aunt on Mother's Day this this year. For whatever reason, I didn't see it that day. Instead, it came across my news feed today, when my nerves were a bit ragged and my patience with teenage boys was thin.
Okay. I admit it. I was losing my cool, and I was giving better example of what NOT to do than what to do when you're frustrated. But this little essay did a few things. First, it reminded me of how blessed I have been by a heritage of praying women. Alma was my (biological) paternal Grandmother, and even though I was very small when she died, I was always aware of how strongly she had impacted my own mother. Her prayers and loving, Godly influence, along with those of my maternal Grandmother and my adoptive paternal Grandmother laid a foundation in which my mother stood, prayed, and loved me. Not only that, but in spite of unconventional circumstances, those who remembered and had been profoundly impacted by her life are very much a part of my early memories of extended and church family.
Second, it reminded me of the mom I WANT to be for my boys. I never want to rob them of that heritage. Furthermore, I want to help uphold the women they marry with my prayers, as they will provide the heritage of a praying mom for my grandchildren. My mother-in-law was a beautiful example of this, and I am so grateful for her heritage of prayer that has shaped my husband. She drew me under her wings on her prayers from the earliest days of our dating, and her prayers cover us still as we raise her grandchildren.
Raising children is a humbling and daunting vocation. Every day I am faced with the choice to purposefully get on my knees or be driven there by the burden, but keeping a clear vision of passing a heritage of prayer is of eternal importance. Kyrie, eleison!
And it is now my privilege to share...
The Heritage of a Praying Mom
As Mother's Day was approaching of course I began thinking about my mother, Alma May Lovejoy,who was killed in an auto/motorcycle accident when I was only eight years old. Because I was so young a lot of my memories of her are actually based on the memories of others that have been kind enough to share stories about her with me. I am so thankful for that because I love to hear about her and it makes me feel close to her. I can remember some special things shared with my Mom though, like her making sugar cookie dough and telling my brothers to stay out of it while it was chilling in the refrigerator. I also remember her giving me two specific dolls she bought for me. One doll was Mrs. Beasley. She took me to Hill's Department Store where she found there was only one doll left and a gentleman had to get a ladder to get it down for her. I loved that doll and remember losing it in Kentucky while visiting my grandparents. It seems like I can remember my Mom and Dad saying the dogs must have taken it to the woods after carrying it off the porch. Everyone was searching for that doll. As I got older I began to wonder if because I was so attached to the doll that was their way of getting it away from me. Any of my siblings have any confessions they'd like to make? The second doll was a Chrissy doll. She had red hair and you could pull it out to make it long or pull back in to make short. Oh I wanted that doll so much, and I remember opening Chrissy for Christmas. I was so excited and happy I lunged into my Moms arms thanking her over and over. I don't really remember what happened to that doll sadly enough but I love the memory of that Christmas morning with my Mom.
I can remember riding home from our church on Ronald Drive, pretending to be asleep and my brothers would say, "She's not asleep, I see her eyes moving." And my Mother would say, "Yes, she's asleep, now don't you wake her up." She never let on that she knew I was faking! I remember her singing to my brother, Tracy, a little silly song that went,"Tracy's mad and I'm glad and I know what
will please him, a bottle of ink you make him stink, a bottle of wine to make him shine and a pretty little girl to hug and squeeze him". Not quite sure if I remembered all of that correctly but its close I think? I remember riding in the middle of the front seat and as she came to a stop her arm automatically stretched out across my chest to keep me from going forward. I remember one time we all wanted to go swimming but my cousin that was at our house didn't have a bathing suit so my Mother took one of my body suits, you know the ones that used to snap in the crotch area? And she cut the sleeves off of it and let her wear it as a bathing suit. I remember many neighborhood teenagers being at our house, many calling her Mom and my Dad, Dad. Oh, I remember one time she had just put a cake in the oven after taking some of my siblings to church, but then she got a phone call from one of the youth who ended up needing a ride to church. My mother took the cake out of the oven and out the door we went to drive that young person to the church. I remember her going out in the neighborhood inviting people to church. My Dad drove the church bus but my Mom made sure there were children to pick up for Sunday School. I remember her singing, making up her own songs and yodeling! She would yodel just to aggravate my sister Barb, but I loved it!
I remember sitting next to her on the church pew watching her write notes and scriptures, sometimes they were to my Grandmother asking for gum or a mint"(big smile)".
I even vaguely remember some of time we shared the day she passed away. Eating lunch at the park, which I think we ate Long John Silvers? Her speaking about how she would give her life to the Lord to see all of her children saved. I remember the accident and the passerby driving me to the hospital while the ambulance took my mother. I remember telling the nurse at the hospital my sister and her husbands names and the passerby happen to be friends of my brother- in- laws family and knew exactly how to get my family notified of the accident. I remember him asking me if there was anything he could do and I said can we pray for my Mommy? And we did. These are memories that I treasure and I'm sure there are a few I'm even forgetting to mention, but there's one memory that's my most vivid, most loved memory and that's of my mother praying.
I can remember standing in the hallway listening to her pray. Quietly squeezing the door open just enough to peek in and see her knelt before the Lord. Oh, how I love remembering that. My mother wasn't always aware that I was listening and she may not have realized what effect her prayers would have on her children, or maybe she did?
After my mother passed away I remember I could be playing in the yard, I could be at school or anywhere and when I would hear an ambulance I would associate it with the accident that took her life and I would stop and pray for whoever or whatever the ambulance might be for. Even at such a young age I began praying as my mother did. I remember her passion for the Lord , her love for prayer and praise. The joy she had that came from the Lord and the way she loved and served others.
Sadly, I drifted away from the Lord as a young adult and had some pretty " wild days" but I can honestly say that during that time I knew where I needed to be and God continually tugged at my heart. I'm sure it was my "mothers prayers" being answered that led me to rededicate my life back to Jesus.
I now find myself in amazement of the heritage she, and my Dad left to us and my number one prayer is that I can leave it for my children, and to their children, generation after generation. I encourage you if you have children or grandchildren not only let them hear you pray, but pray with them. We pray with our two year old grandson and if we happen to forget he reminds us. "Pray," he says. God has so richly blessed me in so many ways and I'm especially thankful for the heritage my mother and father left for my family. In the eight short years I had with my Mom, she left a lifetime of memories and a heritage that would not only impact my life here on earth but also lead me to receive the promise of everlasting life. I have to ask, what more could you possibly leave for your children? "Thank you, Mom (and Dad), for the godly heritage you gave to us, not so much in the things you said but for the examples you were by the way that you lived."